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Learning Center - Resources, inspiration and expert advice on metal clay and jewelry making in silver, gold and bronze
What is metal clay?
Metal clay is a jewelry making material that can be used by just about anyone to create jewelry and small decorative objects. Metal clay is made from powdered metal mixed with water and a substance called "methyl cellulose" to create a clay-like dough.

Methyl cellulose may sound like a nasty chemical, but it's actually made from the cell walls of green plants. It's an organic ingredient used in food additives and is non-allergic, non-toxic and perfectly safe to work with.

Metal clay handles similar to traditional modeling clays, and when dried is transformed into a solid object through a firing process. During firing, the methyl cellulose, typically called "binder", is burned away and the metal particles "sinter" into a solid form.

There are several types of metal clay available: fine silver, silver alloy, gold alloy, copper and bronze. Each type of metal clay has unique firing requirements because each metal has a different melting point.

For the beginner, fine silver clay is the easiest and quickest way to experience metal clay because there are so many options for firing, including low cost hand held butane torches. All metal clays are optimally fired in a jewelry kiln and some require special firing methods. The overview below will give you the basics on the different types and their firing requirements to help you decide which clay to begin your adventures with. 
Types of Metal Clay & Firing Requirements
Lump Form
Fine Silver Clay

There are 2 brands of fine silver clay available: PMC and Art Clay Silver. We offer both brands and all of the available formulations of each. Art Clay and PMC fine silver clays are made from powdered fine silver that is .999 in purity and considered pure silver or "fine" silver.

Fine silver clay is the easiest and fastest of all metal clays to fire. In as little as 2 minutes you can transform dry clay into a pure fine silver object.

Minimum Firing Time: 2 minutes

Firing Options: Torch, gas burner, enameling kiln, jewelry kiln

Slip (or Paste) Form
Silver Alloy Clay

PMC PRO is a silver clay that is made of fine silver, copper and other metals. 90% of the clay weight is fine silver and 10% are the other metals. This type of mixture is called an "alloy" and results in a metal that is far stronger than pure fine silver. Metals are alloyed to enhance or impart characteristics that are lacking in the main metal. Fine silver is a metal that is easily dented and scratched. By adding other metals an alloy with greater strength is created. PMC PRO offers jewelery artists the ability to make thinner, more delicate jewelry that meets any jewelers standard for durability. PMC PRO and all other alloy clays are fired inside a fireproof container filled with activated carbon and fired in a kiln. Most pieces can be fired in 1 hour.

Minimum Firing Time: 1 hour

Firing Options: Carbon Firing (kiln required)

Slip (or Paste) Form
Gold Clay

PMC and Art Clay both offer gold clay products. Gold clays are either pure 24K gold or 22K alloy of fine silver and gold. 22K means there is 22 parts pure gold and 2 parts some other metal. Can be fired with a hand held torch in as little as 2 minutes.

Minimum Firing Time: 2 minutes

Firing Options:Torch, gas burner, enameling kiln, jewelry kiln

Paper Form
Bronze Clay

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. Bronze is a very hard metal and is the strongest of all the metal clays available. We offer BRONZclay and FASTfire BRONZclay by Metal Adventures, Inc. The difference between the formulations is the firing time required, the shrinkage, and the color of the finished metal.

BRONZclay is fired according to the thickness of the finished piece. The thicker the clay, the slower the firing. The thinner the piece, the faster the firing. This version shrinks about 25% during firing and is a warm bronze color.

Minimum Firing Time: 3 hours, 4 is average

Firing Options: Carbon Firing (kiln required)


FASTfire BRONZclay usually fires at full speed, but in some kiln models, the heating is slowed to 1000F/hour. This version shrinks about 20% during firing and is a golden bronze color.

Minimum Firing Time: 2 hours, 3 for extra strength

Firing Options: Carbon Firing (kiln required)

Paper Form
Copper Clay

Copper clay is made of pure copper. We offer two excellent brands of copper clay,  COPPRclay by Metal Adventures, Inc and Art Clay Copper by Aida Chemical. ArtClay Copper can be fired by torch or in a kiln with or without carbon. COPPRclay must be fired in a kiln in activated carbon. Kiln firing takes about 3 hours.

Minimum Firing Time: 5 minutes

Firing Options: Torch or Carbon Firing (kiln required)

Metal Clay Products

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PMC PRO No-Flake Firing Kit with Carbon by Cool Tools